MERIDIAN, Idaho — Sergeant Major Gary Becton served in the United States Army from 1964-1992, he had a distinguished career earning the bronze star twice, the Legion of Merit and a Purple Heart.
Gary is now 80-years-old and lives with his wife Sharon in Meridian, he has been looking into getting a putting green installed in his backyard so he talked with Justin Toothman of Idaho Greens and Lawns.
"Justin said have you heard of Folds of Honor? I said absolutely I know the organization," said Becton. "He said let me talk to them, he would provide the labor and Celebrity Greens will provide the product and I just couldn’t believe that they would do this."
Folds of Honor was started by Lt. Col. Dan Rooney who flew F-16's in the Air Force, went on to become a PGA Tour golfer then founded this non-profit in 2007.
Folds of Honor has given out more than 35,000 scholarships and more than 160 million dollars mainly to spouses and children of military members who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Folds of Honor recently partnered with Celebrity Greens, a company based out of Scottsdale Arizona that designs putting greens, bunkers, short courses and par three courses around the world.
This collaboration will provided veterans with a backyard experience that fits their needs and Gary became the third veteran in the country to get one.
"It is such an honor," said Toothman. "It's the highlight of the year to be able to do something like this and give back."
Toothman works in the Treasure Valley as a representative that installs Celebrity Greens products, his crew started working on Tuesday and finished the a synthetic sand-filled turf putting green on Friday.
"We dig down we start from the bottom up bringing in base making the undulations and we transform the backyard so this can play like a real golf green," said Toothman.
In return Gary who has unfortunately been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has no heirs decided that when him and Sharon leave this earth they will donate their house to Fold of Honor as the Becton's continue a life of looking out for soldiers and their families.
"Those are the real heroes," said Becton. "We need to thank them for what they’ve done and the sacrifices they’ve made."
But for the rest of their days the Bectons will be able to enjoy a backyard paradise complete with a putting green and Gary can't wait to hustle his friends and family.
"I don’t want to embarrass myself until I learn the breaks but once I do the loser has to drink a shot a shot of Jagermeister."
I look forward to visiting with Gary again and hearing his stories, he always made it clear the soldiers under his command were responsible for his success which tells me Gary is the kind of leader soldiers love to follow.